If you’re out and about tonight, be sure to look up, because the moon is putting on a show.
The harvest moon was set to shine bright over the country on Friday night from 6:20pm, providing an eerie setting for Friday the 13th.
Josh Kirkley, astronomy educator from Stardome Observatory and Planetarium explained the glowing moon would be visible from anywhere in New Zealand, as long as you have a clear view of the east.
The almost full moon – a full micromoon was set to rise on Saturday night – would be visible with the naked eye depending on the weather. Kirkley said the micromoon is when the full moon is at the farthest point from Earth in the moons orbit.
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Unfortunately, the team at Tekapo Stargazing were let down by the weather, but a spokesperson described it as a big and special astronomical event.
The weather across the country wasn’t shaping up to be great moon-watching weather. MetService meteorologist Larissa Marintchenko said there was only a few places in the country with clear skies.
“Most of the North Island is not going to be the best. It’s quite thick high cloud over the North Island.”
Auckland, part of Northland, the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne regions were experiencing some clear skies, but areas south of Auckland on the West Coast, including Wellington, would expect a night of clouds and showers.
In the South Island, the southern areas were clearing, she said, but Christchurch’s outlook was unfortunately not that good with a few showers and clouds covering the region.
Kirkley said the moon would appear slightly smaller than a normal full moon and might require a keen eye to spot.
According toNasa, the moon was named for the farmers who relied on its light to gather their crops, but it had a number of other names around the world depending on the crop. It was also referred to as the Fruit Moon, the Barley Moon, and the Corn Moon. It was the first full moon to rise closes to the autumnal equinox – or in New Zealand’s case, thespring equinoxwhich officially occurs on September 23.
It wasn’t necessarily a rare event, Kirkley said it was just the name given to the full moon in the month of September.
“It does not hold any scientific significance and most lunar phase names for any particular month are named so by Northern Hemisphere cultures.”